Lessons From Joseph

I have always been intrigued with Joseph. In the story of Jesus’ birth, Mary is the one who always gets the attention. I’m not saying she shouldn’t. I’m saying that I think Joseph needs some attention too. Just so you know, I’m also the guy who doesn’t stand and look at the bride in a wedding either. When I hear the notes on the organ and all rise and turn to the back of the auditorium, I turn and face the front. I love the look on a guy’s face as his wife comes out of hiding and he sees her for the first time in her dress. I identify with him because I’ve been there. There’s no feeling like it.

Maybe that’s why I’m concerned with Joseph. As a guy, husband and father, I identify with him. Since I can identify with him, it makes me impressed with what he did. We know that Mary was highly favored among women, but I think Joseph must have been highly favored among men. It took someone special to do what he was asked to do which is to be an earthly father to the Messiah. It was on him to raise a baby into a boy, a boy into a teen and teen into a man.

You know what kind of a person Joseph is right away when you first read about him in Matthew 1. The first thing you know is that his genealogy places him in the tribe of Judah and in the royal family line of King David. The Bible lists out the 28 generations from Abraham to Joseph. God couldn’t just use anyone to be the father of Jesus, he had to be from that tribe and in that lineage according to prophecy. He also had to be devout, willing and obedient.

When Mary told Joseph that she was pregnant, he knew that he was not the father. His reaction impresses me. He decided he wouldn’t marry her, that he’d keep it quiet and let her go into hiding since that was a crime punishable by stoning. If it was me and my fiancé told me she was pregnant, I would have been the first one with a stone in my hand. Joseph wasn’t like that though. Even though he must have been hurt and obviously disbelieving in her story, he decided to show kindness.

God had sent an angel to speak to Mary about the baby, now He sent one to Joseph. Once the angel spoke to Joseph, he believed and kept Mary as his fiancé. Not only that, but he married her and then did not have marital relations with her until after Jesus was born. What?!? They were married for months before he consummated their wedding vows. That’s a stronger man than me.

What he does next is even more impressive. God woke him up in the middle of the night and told him to take his family and flee to Egypt. Without hesitation, they packed up and left. He had already been displaced from his home in Nazareth because of the census, now he had to flee his home in Bethlehem. Through two other dreams Joseph was obedient to what God said in order to protect Jesus. He was a true father to Jesus by putting His safety above his own.

I think there is a lot we can learn from Joseph. Although the Bible doesn’t give us much more than this about him, we can see that God chose the right man for the right job. I think He still chooses the right people to fulfill His purposes. Each of us has been called to do something in particular for Him. He’s needing us to be devout, willing and obedient as Joseph was. So what has He asked you to do? Are you being willing and obedient to do it while remaining devout to Him even when it doesn’t make sense?

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